Tuesday, March 08, 2016

felt balls and then i'm on my way

So I'm getting ready for a trip--for fun- not for work. Overseas! On Thursday.
Sunset colorway.
I love planning trip knitting, I was going to post all about projects  I'm considering taking, the pros and cons,  what yarn la-la-la-la-laaa. but guess what? No time to put it all together visually.  So. You get balls. Felt balls! Aren't they wonderful? My beloved neighborhood friends asked me to teach them how to make felt balls. We're like that. We've done all kinds of things to entertain ourselves over the years.  We've already invested in some felting needles to poke dots and stripes in, the next time we get together.
Trying to force myself to make less organic compositions. Not my jam!
The luscious felting wool is Nash Island Starcroft from Maine. Aren't the colors beautiful? Everyone ordered different sets and they are all to die for.

Next time you hear from me  I'll be somewhere else, and I suspect I'll have plenty to show and tell and maybe even some time to do so.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

tahki yarns behind the scenes photo shoot

In late October, I photographed the Tahki Yarns Spring 2016 look book , the Sea Breeze collection.   We're always working off season - so it was time to look springy in late fall.
That's the cover shot, above. We were flying through 17 outfits that day, working as fast as we could. It's magical when you're all running around like crazy changing clothes, fixing hair, looking for good angles and backgrounds and the wind to blow the right way and then -click- it all falls into place.  Also--I am so attracted to these half-poncho half-sweater quasi-shawl knits. You too? 
The booklet is mostly knits with a couple crochet pieces, like that blanket/wrap on the left, designed by Doris Chan. It was warm for the season- lucky for me- but very breezy. We put the wind to work for us. Fringe with some movement slays me.
I'm also a sucker for a lifeguard station. You'd never know the model, Steph, was shivering a little, right?

You can see the rest of what we created from the Tahki link above or on Ravelry  Now, some BTS:
The day before the shoot, a few of us met in Long Beach NY. It may not be the most glamorous part of Long Island but it is super convenient, being just a little east of Queens and reachable by public transportation. There are miles of flat out gorgeous oceanfront beach, and off-season, plenty of parking. Plus, the vibe there is lose, we could just jump in.  Since we were shooting Spring as the leaves were gold and falling off the trees, we put a lot of energy into finding our setting- deciding on coastline, and then which beach would work for logistics like time and budget (oh those again).  The nice thing about a beach is, you don't know the season, except by the clothing. Plus, I admit it. I love a beach shoot.
My first task is scouting. That's Yliana, who works with me as a production assistant, standing in for the model in spots I think might work . Being my production assistant means before the shoot, she helps with general shleppage and organizing--and during the shoot, as a styling assistant. You have to have the right personality for a job that includes testing to see if it's possible to balance on the edge of the lifeguard stand while looking casual. 
I map out a route for the next day, using the best light at each location. We try to scout at the same time of day we'll be back to photograph, and use phone apps to predict the sun's path.  It makes a huge difference to know where the shadows are falling and if a building will block the sun at certain times of day.  Of course, sometimes it is sunny on the scout day and cloudy the next, for the shoot ....or the reverse. Location photography always throws me some curveballs. See those amazing sand ripples on the right? We were so psyched to scout them as a background.  Showed the scout shots to the client when he arrived, he was also psyched. But by the next morning, trucks had come on the beach and flattened out the ridges, pushing the sand into UN-photogenic piles closer to the boardwalk.
Back to our little Long Beach cottage airBnB we stayed in. It had the best bathroom with a big copper tub set in a tiled wall with a skylight. Deeply regret that I didn't get to use it! Instead we prepped-- Yliana worked on a rack for the wardrobe and helped the Creative Director steam out clothes and hang the pieces in order that we'd use them. I think I was laying on a sofa (um...prepping) and that yellow stuff that's artfully out of focus was a flower on a table, between us. yeah, that's right, artfully.
 The next morning, here's our gorgeous model Steph, leading the parade onto the beach--the makeup artist is on the left, and that's my photo assistant Ariana , and the fashion director, Conley, walking out holding a large silk on a  frame, to soften the sunlight. Harsh light directly on yarn is not great--but you can see there wasn't any cloud cover, and we needed to shoot all day, not just in the  delicate light early in the day.
Don't be fooled, they actually like me, despite the faces. On the far left, one of the former-ripples-now-sand -piles. The silk on the frame is just about going to lift the two of them off the ground in the wind. But you can see how it comes in handy, on the right. I'll be photographing from an angle that doesn't show the edges of the shadow --and also avoids that yellow truck. Where did that truck come from? Stuff like this always happens, a heavy equipment drives through the idyllic setting. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the problem solving aspect of location photography work. Studios are way more predictable , and I can enjoy that...but to me, it's not as fun as throwing in a little chaos.
The dance of a happy fashion director when we finished the last of 17 outfits that day--and the It Takes a Village group portrait shot of us all. I know I've said this before, but I have the best clients.