Bantam Market: Branding a Fictitious Agricultural Company

Brandig Bantam: a fictitious agricultural company

Bantam Branded Lionel boxcar used for class on marketing and branding.

When my son, a junior at RISD, asked if I’d come up to photograph his final projects, I didn’t have to think about it long. It would be nice to spend time with him and I welcomed the opportunity to explore Providence further. Wynn had created Bantam Market, a fictitious agricultural company for a marketing & branding class. He chose to illustrate the branding guidelines booklet using a Lionel train and buildings bearing the Bantam Logo and graphics. I had helped him to dig the train and buildings out of storage when he was home for Thanksgiving. He placed them in a bucolic diorama he had constructed from builder’s foam, lichen and faux grass.

rooftop garden

Rooftop garden created using Lionel building for Marketing class branding an agricultural company.

It was heartwarming to see. When Wynn was a child we spent many evenings working together on a layout in the third floor guest room. The layout has been down for years and all the trains and accessories have been packed away. I’m amused that these toys from a shared past have been resurrected for the purposes of academic achievement.

Post Production:

As I photographed the diorama on a cluttered table in the industrial design studio, some Photoshop work was needed to remove elements of the shooting environment. While I could have used my laptop Wynn got me into a computer lab with 27” iMacs and I much prefer a larger screen and more powerful processor for this type of retouching. Not surprisingly, as we were at a design school, I had full access to the Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  Once the skies were added I reduced saturation, boosted clarity and  applied gradients to reduce sharpness to enhance the miniature look. 

After several hours of work the cursor began flying around the screen closing windows and shutting down Lightroom and Photoshop! Wynn went to the IT office to investigate. It turns out there was someone new working there. While remotely shutting down unused station #1 he also inadvertently shut down #10, which happened to be where I was working. Fortunately I had saved everything and was back to work in no time. I added mountains and skies in the backgrounds then lit up the headlight and added smoke to the locomotive. 

Other aspects of the diorama included a market with rooftop garden and a hotel with billboard featuring Bantam Market’s slogan “Hello Neighbor.” You can read more about it in Wynn’s own words on Behance.  

Bantam-Billboard

Bantam Market Diorama featuring Lionel train and buildings.

Bantam Market Diorama

Bantam Market Diorama featuring Lionel train and buildings.

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving day parade in Philadelphia

Thanksgiving Day parade, Philadelphia PA.

Despite having lived in Philadelphia for over thirty years, this was the first year I was in town for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I decided to go because I’ve been getting back into street photography and I knew there would be ample camera fodder there.

One advantage to photographing an event like this is that people generally don’t mind being photographed. They’re out in public, they’re in a good mood and many are taking photos themselves. Confrontations are less likely to occur at a public event than when you just snap someones photo on the street. However, there was one technique I did employ, that was to take someone’s photo then lower the camera and look beyond them as If I was photographing a float or a balloon behind them. It worked every time.

The Very Hungry Catepillar balloon, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia.

I’ve been collecting film cameras for a while now and for these photos I chose a Canon EOS-1 with a 35mm lens. I liked the idea of using just one camera and one lens which would be limiting yet freeing at the same time. Limiting as I had only one angle of view to work with. Freeing because I had less gear related decisions to make and since the camera was small and light I could move around easily and react faster than if I was carrying a lot of gear.   I loaded the camera with Tri-X as that’s what I had on hand. I used a 25A Red filter for dramatic skies.

While the bright, morning sun was cheerful, it presented challenges as far as photography was concerned. Challenges like high contrast, strong backlighting and lens flare. While the camera has multiple auto exposure modes, I shot on manual using the Sunny 16 rule  and opened up a stop & 1/2  for backlight subjects. As for lens flare, I could move into the shadow cast by a building, wait for a balloon to cover the sun or just go ahead and shoot, letting the flare do what it’s going to do.

 

Aside from the marching bands, floats and balloons there were plenty of subjects of interest just off the parade route, subjects like the ubiquitous, Philly Jesus and a Free Hugs guy. When I’m out shooting I always try to remember to look behind me. That’s often where the better photo is. And yes, I received  both a hug and a blessing, can you ever get enough of either?

Philly Jesus

Philly Jesus at Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade.

Cyclist spectator with floating Christmas wreath.

Free Hugs

Free Hugs at Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia, PA

 

 

Previous Posts: PhiladelphiaPhoto

 

 

 

 

 

Forrest Salamida at Steamtown National Historic Site

Forrest Salamida at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

–>

 
     I don’t do much retail type photography but when my wife’s nephew asked if I’d shoot his senior portrait I couldn’t refuse. Forrest lives with his family just outside of Pittsburgh and we would be meeting up with them in Scranton over the Thanksgiving holiday. Scranton is the home of Mary & Marty Salamida, the Matriarch and Patriarch of the Salamida Clan.
 
     Forrest leaves the theme of the shoot and choice of location up to me.  I don’t have to think too hard about the location. My favorite place to photograph in Scranton is at the Steamtown National Historic Park. It’s a roundhouse and rail yard full of old steam locomotives and rail cars in various stages of decay and restoration. I know Forrest is a musician and a singer / songwriter and that he never goes anywhere without a guitar. I imagined a young Woody Guthrie, riding the rails during the Depression, writing and singing songs for and about the people he meets in his travels. I get psyched up telling myself “this could be more than just a senior portrait, I could be about to photograph the next Dylan or maybe the next Springsteen!”
 
     Forrest and his dad, Chris, my wife’s younger brother, picked me up at the hotel. I told them what I had in mind and they liked the idea. After seeing Forrest’s guitar in the back of the Jeep I asked him if he had a case for it. I had imagined we would do shots of him walking along the tracks carrying a guitar case. He told me he didn’t but that he wanted to get one. Just so happened that not only were we going to pass a Guitar Center, but it was Black Friday and everything would be on sale. Chris agreed to buy him a case and he swung the Jeep into the mall parking lot. I thought it would be a quick in and out but anyone who has ever gone into a Guitar Center with a guitar player would have known there is no such thing. While Chris and I were looking at cases Forrest was busy trying out various Martin’s, Gibson’s and Takamine’s.  Some time later we convinced Forrest we had to go or we would miss  the good light. It wasn’t until we were in the parking lot at Steamtown did we realize that Forrest’s guitar didn’t actually fit in the case we had bought.  That didn’t really matter as far the photos were concerned, no one would know the case was empty.
 
     I photographed Forrest walking along the tracks, sitting and standing on the steps of passenger cars, in front of boxcars and leaning against the walls of various railyard buildings, but my favorite background was the rusted blades of a snowblower car.
 
Forrests’s dad Chris as V.A.L.
     It had been mostly cloudy that afternoon so I used a battery powered Lumedyne in a small softbox as the mainlight and underexposed the ambient light about a stop to act as fill. Occasionally the sun did peek out from behind the clouds acting as a rim light or reversing the role of the Lumedyne from main light to fill, depending on which direction Forrest was standing. Chris acted as a V.A.L. (voice activated lightstand), holding the softbox high over his head for the duration of the shoot. We took short breaks when he complained that his arms were getting sore. I could have put the light on a stand or a monopod, which would have made his job easier but I wanted to avoid stands and tripods as we were shooting in a national park.
 

     Forrest is a senior at Moon Township High School. He wants to become a chemical engineer and will be attending either the University of Pittsburgh or Penn State in the Fall. Forrest not only sings but acts as well. He’ll be playing the part of Pierrepont Finch in his schools production of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Last year he played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls.

 
 


L to R: David Tejada, Erik Lawrence, yours truely and Ian Galbraith after finishing off Geno’s cheesesteaks with wiz. Thanks to Amanda Stevenson-Lupke,(current ASMP Philly Pesident,) for the photo.

As Programs Chair on the Board of ASMP Philadelphia, one of my duties is to reach out to possible presenters for future programs.

I first heard of David Tejada over twenty years ago when I lived in Denver. I remembered seeing his images in The Colorado Creative Directory, then in 2006 while reading David Hobby’s blog “Strobist,” I came across his work again. I followed the links to David’s “?“The F- Stops Here” Blog and his YouTube, on assignment Videos.

I knew David was traveling around the country conducting “Small Strobes, Big Results” Workshops but hadn’t been to Philadelphia yet. I emailed him offering logistical help for the workshop if he’d give a presentation to our members. David called me back and said he’d love to come to Philly and wanted to know what location I had in mind for the workshop. I suggested Eastern State Penitentiary. Built in the early18oo’s, one time home of Al Capone, now rusted bars and peeling paint, rumored to be haunted, turned into a tourist attraction, film location It’s “Terror Behind The Walls,”was just ranked the number one haunted house in America. And you thought all Philly had was an old cracked bell!

David and his assistants, Eric and Ian flew in the day before the Lecture and wanted to meet up for dinner. For a true Philadelphia experience I took them to Geno’s Steaks in South Philly. Nothing but the best for our guests. I warned them not to make a scene by asking for Provolone cheese like John Kerry did, while campaigning in Philly in 2004. Some political analysts believe this faux pas played a major part in his losing the election.

With over ninety people in attendance, the ASMP lecture was a big hit. There was so much demand for the workshop that David added another day and still had to turn people away. I bet it wouldn’t be to hard to get him to come back again.

East Coast Waterworks

East Coast Waterworks, Hershey Park

Is it just me or does this scene remind anyone else of the board game Mousetrap? It’s the East Coast Water Works on the Boardwalk, at Hersheypark. That’s Hershey as in Hershey’s Chocolate Bars, Hershey Kisses, Reese’s Cups, Twizzlers and Jolly Ranchers candy.

In contrast to factory towns of the time, Milton S. Hershey established the park to provide a pleasant environment for his workers and residents of Hershey. The park opened in 1907 with a baseball game on a new athletic field. The park was an ideal spot for picnicking, boating, and canoeing.

A pavilion was built and served as a stage for plays and vaudeville productions. In 1908, an amphitheater, said to have been the most acoustically perfect building of the time, was constructed. In 1912, a carousel built by William H. Dentzel of Philadelphia, costing $15,000 was added to the park. Other additions included bowling alleys, tennis courts, a scenic railroad, a zoo, and even a photography gallery. With 1920’s came the addition of a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, The Aeroplane and the Skooter.

Fast forward to 2008 the park has expanded to over 110 acres and more than 60 rides and attractions. There are 11 roller coasters including the Super Duper Luper, the first looping roller coaster on the east coast. The Sidewinder, which not only contains three inversions but in the middle, reverses direction and repeats each loop backwards. The Storm Runner, launches riders from 0 to 72mph in 2 seconds, then up a 150 ft top hat followed by multiple inversions. The Farenheit is in a five way tie for coaster with the greatest angle of decent, at over 90 degrees. The Farenheit was the first ever rollercoaster to gather hype through a viral marketing campaign started by a posting on ThrillNetwork.com.

Despite having lived in Pennsylvania for most of my life I had never been to Hersheypark. Wynn’s cousin Sylvan lives in Pittsburgh and was coming to visit us for a week. We chose the park as a half way point to meet up with my brother-in-law, Chris and his two other kids Forrest and Sage. We would spend the day at the park then Chris, Forrest and Sage would drive back to Pittsburgh and we’d return to Philly with Sylvan.

Hersheypark was not quite as I had imagined it. I expected something a bit more, “Old World” from an amusement park tucked away in the middle of Pennsylvania farm country. In my opinion, while the rides were exhilarating, they just weren’t worth the 45 minute to two hour wait in line. In all fairness, we were there on a Sunday in the middle of August. When leaving the line for the Farenheit a woman entering asked “What’s wrong, are you afraid?”I replied, “The only thing I fear is that line!”

The experience was anything but relaxing. I think I might have enjoyed Milton Hershey’s park of the last century more. Maybe I’m just getting old.

“Shrimp” #1

Dog rescued from Puppy Mill

Dog named “Shrimp” rescued from puppy mill.

I received a call from Bill Smith at Mainline Animal Rescue. A puppymill had just surrendered a dog to them and he wanted me to document the animal’s condition. He asked me to meet him at
Metropolitan Veterinary Associates where he had taken the dog for treatment.

Bill nicknamed the dog “Shrimp” because he was small, pink and more resembled a crustacean than a canine. He was so emaciated and had lost so much fur, that it was hard to determine just what kind of dog he really was. Shrimp was malnourished, dehydrated, had ulcers in his eyes, mange, parasites and splayed feet from standing on the chicken wire floor in the rabbit hutch that had been his home. Shrimp was surrendered because he was not a good breeder, problem was, at some point he had been neutered!

Shrimp was weak and in need of immediate treatment so I had to work quickly. For the image of Shrimp on the exam table, the main light was a Canon 580EX speedlight mounted on a stand and shot into a silver umbrella at camera right. For fill I mounted a Canon 540Ex on a stand and bounced it off the low white ceiling. Both flashes were set on the ETTL automatic exposure setting. The 580 was set as master and the 540 was set to slave. Both speedlights were fired by an on-camera, Canon, STE2 infrared transmitter.

This combination works well indoors when both flashes can see the infrared signal from the transmitter and allows using multiple off camera flashes in automatic mode. I used a Canon 20D with a 28-70, 2.8 lens. I set the ISO to 100 and exposure dial to manual. I chose 1/60 of a second to burn in the background as there was some daylight coming in from a window just out of frame. I chose 5.6 as the aperture, to insure I had sufficient depth of field for Shrimp to be in focus but allow the bars of the pen in the background to go soft.

To see what you can do to help prevent this kind of abuse visit stoppuppymills.org.

Test Driving Blogger

Front view of antique car

Front view of antique car with zoom blur

For my first post, I chose this image of my neighbor’s antique car because I have used it as my subject in so many other tests. Why not use it now as I kick the tires on Blogger?

Gus’s Dodge has been parked on a little side street just outside my door for as long as I can remember. If I want to try out a new camera, a new lens, or a new technique, I know the old Dodge is there, waiting for me to find yet another angle or some obscure detail that I overlooked in previous visits.

 

This image was shot as a homework assignment for Seth Resnick and Jamie Spritzer’s D-65 digital workflow workshop. I used a Canon 20D with a 28-70 2.8. Exposure was 1/6th of a second at f/22, ISO 100. I zoomed in quickly during the long exposure. Raw file was then processed in Photoshop CS2. I dropped the Color Tempeture to 2750 to turn the image blue.


This won’t be the last time you’ll see the old Dodge. I have quite a few images of it that I’ll pepper into the blog as I muse on various subjects. Some of my favorites are from my Speed Graphic pinhole camera taken on Polaroid positive/negative film.