My new hero: Casey Neistat and his BAMF’ing videos

Over at Kottke, he posted this amazing video from filmmaker Casey Neistat and his son having a blast at a German waterpark that is built in an old airplane hanger.

I didn’t recognize Casey right away, until I went through some of his other videos. I found this one about the time he took an entire budget Nike was going to pay him to create a film and traveled the world in 10 days.

If by the end of the video, you don’t buy or at least make some mental promise to yourself to buy a plane ticket, you’re an idiot.

But then there’s the video below, that makes me crazy with jealousy and inspiration.

Casey takes $25,000 of the marketing dollars for The Life of Walter Mitty, goes to the Philippines and helps with the relief effort after that huge typhoon destroyed so much of their people and land.

This, dear readers, is something I’m dying and longing to do. If for nothing else, the kind of notoriety that Casey gets for doing such things. What a great guy, great photographer, great filmmaker and great editor.


Tina was gone for the weekend. Great father/dogger time. Kept my traditions sacred


Tina was gone for the weekend.

Annually, she and some women plan a girls’ weekend in nearby Michigan. They rent a house and spend about 48 hours figuring out why they love their lives outside of Michigan. :)

They have a good time, and Tina always looks forward to going.

It’s good for us, too, because we spend almost every waking hour together every day. We both experience a little separation anxiety when we spend any time apart let alone over night.

Weekends like the last one are good exercises in 1st world pain and torture.

Whenever Tina leaves me, or vice versa, for any spell of time, I’m sure to hurt myself quite badly and/or incur some large bill as the result of — what I’ll blame on — separation anxiety.

When I was in Thailand, I caught an acute stomach bug that laid me up in a Thai hospital over night. Tina was gone to dinner with a friend once and I cut my finger on a shard of glass while cleaning a glass tea kettle. I needed seven stitches. No matter what, if Tina’s gone, I’m a mess.

This weekend was no different.

On Friday night, I found some leftover potatoes in the refrigerator that I was going to cut up and make into fry up as a cubed hash brown type side for some chicken thighs I was grilling. Since they were covered in the fridge, condensation had accumulated in the Tupperware.

I heated some oil in a pan and cut the potatoes. When the pan and oil was hot, I threw them in, resulting in that cataclysmic snap and pop when water meets hot oil. Hot cannonballs of oil splattered out all over my right arm. It looks like a shrapnel wound on my forearm.

That night I played 2.5 hours of pickup soccer at a nearby field and largely forgot about the burns, although, I could feel them from time to time, reminding me of my idiocy.

The next day, all of the red spots turned into blisters.

On Saturday, I biked to the gym to relax by the pool and soak up some sun for awhile. I also wanted to sit in the whirlpool to soak after soccer. But the whirlpool was closed for maintenance.

After strapping my bike helmet on and exiting the gym, my water bottle’s top opened and leaked enough water in my bag that it was dripping on my legs as I walked.

“Shit!” I said to myself. “I hate this bottle.”

So I started turning my bag over to get the puddles out, when my phone slipped out of a front pocket, hit the ground and spiderweb cracked in that all-too-familiar way you’ve seen everyone else’s phone do, but you’ve been so good at avoiding for the past few Smart Phone years.

“Figures! Tina’s out of town.”

Frankly, I’m glad those were the only things that happened. I thought playing soccer, I’m in for it. On Saturday, I did my self portrait which involved fire. That could have been disastrous.

These things likely would have happened whether Tina was here or not. It makes for a better story, though, if everything bad happens when she’s gone.

It’s the closest I get to being superstitious.


Falling in love with the 50mm focal length


Like many photographers, I carry a 50mm lens in my bag.

It’s the focal length I learned on, and it’s like that because it’s the most developed lens of all time.

You can shoot portraits with it. You can shoot landscapes or an interior or two.

So it’s versatile. The one I have isn’t the top of the line model. But it’s decent glass. Coupled with a Canon 5D Mark III, it’s probably a little better than it was with my Mark II.

I stayed away from it for a long time, because shooting it wide open at f1.4 was somewhat impossible. Focus always missed and I’m the kind of guy that wants my focus point sharp. Super sharp. That’s my thing.

But if I shoot at f2.0, I can nail my focus and still get sweet-ass bokeh that we all love.

I hate picking up an Anthropologie catalog and seeing the images soft, but the reason they are used is because they are pretty. But if it’s out of focus, any old fucker could have taken that photo, right? And, yes, Anthropologie is the worst about hiring crap photographers that are somehow passed off as good because their product is beautiful and they’re so in love with it that they let anything pass as good.

While I have gear envy for the $1600 version of the lens, the $400 version fits my needs fine for now. I’m seriously considering buying up all the prime USM lenses to throw in my bag and toss all of my zoom lenses. Prime lenses are made for their focal length and that’s it.

Anyway, just thought I’d pass along this info … just for you.





Whoops, I forgot to post the most exciting of the Def Leppard t-shirt shots


Our shoot with this lovely makeup artist ended with a hilarious encounter with an older, drunk, latino ice cream peddler who was pining for a photograph with Chelsea … and then another one with Tina.

We knew he was drunk from the smell of his breath, the slur of his words and the little bag of various cans of beer, including Milwaukee’s Best. Chelsea showed her sense or humor well, and was able to scrape together a solid prom-style pose with him, despite his creepiness.

For lighting, we primarily used this portable Chimera beauty dish and I mixed use of our Canon 5D Mark III using a 50mm lens at f2.0. or our Hasselblad H3DII-31 with 80mm lens at f5.6.


Well, slit my wrists! I watched the movie August: Osage County over the weekend


Over the weekend, Tina and I watched a nasty black comedy called, August: Osage County, and man, it was a real downer.

But a downer in a good way.

It stars Meryl StreepJulia RobertsEwan McGregorChris CooperAbigail BreslinBenedict CumberbatchJuliette LewisMargo MartindaleDermot Mulroney, and Julianne Nicholson

The performances and lighting were worth the viewing. The pace and the weight of the content was near perfect, if you find perfection in a bit of heart-wrenching, family drama, pain, torture and anger.

If you finish the movie and don’t liken the experiences in the film to ones in your own family, I’m not sure I want to know you. I’m not saying your family is as screwed up as the family depicted in the movie, but I’m damn sure there better be some correlations.

There’s betrayal, lies, infidelities, exposure, anger, yelling, truth telling, throwing dishes, temper tantrums, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and that’s just the first 10 minutes.

I’m not making this recommendation to all of you. Just the ones who give a shit about good filmmaking, story telling and stories without resolve. What is real life but a story without resolve.