Hi there! (Or hello again if we're old friends by now)
I've been keeping busy since my last posting, and I'm going to give you a quick look and some extra details about two of my recent shoots, which were shoots associated with charity events.
I've actually done some work in fundraising for social betterment programs in the past, and I can tell you that it is very rewarding. A quote to get us in the spirit:
The following groups are definitely representative of the above quote.
Miles for Melanoma
This is the second year that I have shot the Miles for Melanoma run at the Universal Studios Backlot. I booked by A5 Events to do the photography both years. I've worked on multiple runs with them and they always make such a great experience for everyone involved.
At 5:00 am I woke up, got dressed, grabbed my camera bag, made coffee, ate breakfast and drove to the Universal Studios backlot. All this before the sun even rose. This is the fourth race I've shot at the Universal Studios Backlot and the second for the Melanoma Research Foundation, which organizes the Miles for Melanoma run. As for this particular race, I loved where the race is started and ended this time. Its so much fun watching the people run through the movies, and a great route had been picked out.
We were dead center in “New” New York, where the race started. The sun finally rose and I started off shooting the volunteers and staff. Once the buses arrived with people participating in the run, I got to capture people arriving and looking around at the movie sets they were suddenly in the middle of. There were also groups of people supporting friends or family members participating in the run. Their stories or support for their group were on their shirts. You could definitely understand why this event was so important to the participants and their fans, whether they had been affected by melanoma, or a loved one had.
The race was about to start and I got shots of the crowd from the ground, and then climbed a 15 foot ladder for shots that captured the size of the group.
Fifteen feet, however, doesn't provide the perspective needed to really give the full impression of it. That being the case, and with the fact that the race was about to start taken into account, I was soon racing up three flights of stairs inside one of the backlot building, which incidentally looks like a bank. A security guard yelled at me, “Who are you?”
I kept running up stairs and yelled back, “I’m the photographer!”
If it were only that easy to handle people yelling at you in other parts of life. :)
I make it out of the stairwell and looked down just in time to hear "5…4…3…2…1." I got the shots I needed, every single one of them. Below are a few of the shots, including the view from the top of the building.
Luckily, there was a nice man up there who I found out is the head of security and after I joked with him that he can watch me get thrown out, he said, "No one gets thrown out until they talk to me." He then laughed and said, "I had a feeling you would come up here." Phew... good guy. *wipes forehead*
I then left and headed towards the backlot where the race was. I grabbed a ride on a golf cart, hanging off the side. We drove past the flood area and I then walked into Cabot Cove. I ran around a bit, snagging shots all the while, and back through the Wild West to the end of the race to capture the first few people to get through the finish line.
Now, next was the kids race, with warm ups... and cheating Minions. Yes, cheating! Stuart, Tim & Kevin all started the race and cut through to the end. Cheaters... the kids smiles and laughs made all this so worth it. Just in case you don't believe me, here is photographic evidence of a cheating Minion.
The end was summed up with the Executive Director of the Melanoma Research Foundation, Mr. Timothy Turnham, on stage thanking everyone. By 11:00 am I was back at the computer uploading the images so I could deliver a few for their immediate press release. It was great working with the Melanoma Research Foundation and Universal Studios. They really do great work to help with this truly important cause. If you'd like to see a bit more of this event, you can follow this link. Just be sure to come back to hear about the other event I shot.
Paul Mitchell Schools and Gary Sinise Foundation
About a week ago, I shot the Paul Mitchell Schools gala event. The Paul Mitchell Schools all participate in cut-a-thons, hair shows, car washes, and other activities in order to raise funds for charitable groups. For example, the Magic Johnson Foundation provides support in various forms to programs in urban communities with ethnically diverse populations. The gala was the event to give recognition for all that had been recently accomplished by the Paul Mitchell Schools in their efforts. More on their recent successes in a bit.
A little bit before I needed to be available, I arrived to the Beverly Hilton. Now, I'd never actually been there but I have passed it hundreds if not thousands of times in my life. It really is quite beautiful, and was the perfect venue to recognize accomplishments at the level that this group achieved.
I was one of seven photographers. We were each assigned a foundation to shoot with arriving guests. I was assigned the Gary Sinise Foundation. Now, I have admired Gary Sinise as an actor for years, in particular for his amazing performances in Forrest Gump and on CSI:NY. He also started the Steppenwolf Theater Company and is a theatre guy, which is right where I live.
Now, on top of all that, I find out he has a foundation to improve the lives of veterans. This well just gets deeper and deeper. So, for the next two hours solid I shot him with anywhere from 1 to 12 people, each of which was associated with the fundraising efforts in some way, majorly by direct work on the grass roots activities of the schools. Everyone was dressed beautifully (and as you may have guessed, their hair and makeup looked amazing). This was all very fast paced, with many, many people, and full of smiles. A little information on what they accomplished:
You saw that right. They raised over $1.7 million for very deserving groups through their grass roots activities. Such an accomplishment. The St. Louis Paul Mitchell School is pictured below.
Now, the Gary Sinise Foundation, which I shot, provides services to American servicemen, first responders, and their families so that they can lead lives representative of their contribution to the safety of this country. Here is a picture of Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, an ambassador for the foundation, with Mr. Sinise.
Staff Sergeant Mills (pictured at the top of this post) was injured by a improvised explosive devise in Afghanistan, losing portions of both arms and both legs. I've since learned that he is one of five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan to survive their injuries. You can learn more about his story at his website.
And then, of course, there was this. I couldn't resist:
I really do love these shoots. You get to see the best that people are capable of and how they can really do good for the world.
I've been having so much fun with all the different types of shoots I've been able to do recently. I've done events, headshots, and real estate, among others. I've seen some great things being done for the world, and have gotten to meet some great people.
Please do comment below. I would love to hear from you and will always write back.
And feel free to take a look through my portfolio. I've shot many interesting people, places and things in my career and I'm sure there's something of interest in there for you.
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Until next time,
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